"Where can I buy Bitcoin?" is an oft-asked question as investment chitchat about the auspicious future of cryptocurrency takes the world by storm. New investors may gravitate toward the Robinhood app to purchase their Bitcoin, but many cryptocurrency pundits advise Bitcoin dabblers to stay away from Robinhood.
While you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Robinhood does not allow you to move Bitcoin out of Robinhood to other crypto wallets. The stock-trading app also doesn't provide its customers with the "private keys" for their cryptocurrency. As the old saying goes, "not your keys, not your crypto."
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Coinbase, for example, offers its users keys to their purchased Bitcoin, solidifying their ownership of the digital asset. As such, Bitcoin buyers can withdraw their Bitcoin and store it inside something called a Ledger (a USB device that secures your Bitcoin inside a hardware wallet).
Robinhood does not allow its users the luxury of owning their Bitcoin, so if Robinhood gets hacked or goes bankrupt, you won't be able to pull your Bitcoin off the platform. That being said, Laptop Mag felt compelled to offer prospective Bitcoin buyers better alternatives for purchasing the digital currency. But before we dive into our list of best cryptocurrency wallets for purchasing Bitcoin, let's explain what this popular digital currency is all about.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin, created in 2009, is a digital currency — electronic cash, if you will — that utilizes peer-to-peer networks to facilitate instant payments without any central authorities or banks.
As of this writing, one Bitcoin costs $35,614. One of the biggest misconceptions people make about cryptocurrency is believing that they need to purchase one whole Bitcoin (in this case, more than $35,000) to invest in the cryptocurrency. The truth is, you can buy fractional shares of Bitcoin. For example, you can invest $1,000 and own about 2.8% of one Bitcoin.
Be sure to only invest what you can afford. Just like stocks, digital assets can be subject to volatility and their value can plunge or skyrocket at any time. Without further ado, here are the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinbase (opens in new tab) is a popular, highly recommended cryptocurrency exchange that has grown in prominence among new and seasoned investors alike. All the popular cryptocurrencies are up for grabs, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Unfortunately, there are some coins that Coinbase doesn't support — don't go looking for Dogecoin because you won't find it on Coinbase.
Coinbase's fees is another con you'll want to consider. Whether you're purchasing or seeking a payout, Coinbase charges 1.49%. If you want to purchase Bitcoin with your credit card, the fee jumps to 3.99%. However, many users are willing to stomach Coinbase's fees due to its smooth, easy-to-use UI, top-notch security practices and insurance coverage (in case Coinbase gets compromised).
Binance US (opens in new tab) is an offshoot from Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange with headquarters in Malta that was launched in 2017. Binance US, stationed in San Francisco, is led by Catherine Coley. While Binance has an extensive list of coins to choose from, Binance US has limited assets, but it still has a decent selection, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Stellar Lumens. It even has Dogecoin, which Coinbase does not have.
Binance US charges low fees (opens in new tab) (0.1% trading fee and 0.5% instant buy/sell fee) and it also reportedly has great customer support. Unfortunately, Binance US does not serve the following states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington.
Kraken (opens in new tab) is a crypto exchange based out of San Francisco. Not only can you trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, but you can also trade monetary units such as the Japanese Yen, British Pounds and Canadian Dollars. More experienced users can try their hand at Kraken's margin trading and other trading features. Fees are low, ranging from 0% to 0.26%. Kraken is also praised for its 24/7 customer support. (opens in new tab)
One downside of Kraken is that it does not accept deposits via cash, debit cards, credit cards nor PayPal. Kraken's interface might also be a little bit off-putting for beginners — it's not simple and easy-to-use like Coinbase.
Voyager is a mobile-only app with a large suite of coins and tokens (more than 50), including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Stellar Lumens. Unfortunately, if you prefer accessing your cryptocurrency exchange on PC, you won't be able to do this with Voyager since it does not have a desktop platform. On the plus side, users love Voyager's easy-to-use, highly intuitive app.
Users will also love that Voyager is 100% commission-free. This means you'll only pay the quoted prices when you follow through with your orders. As a cherry on top, Voyager gives users the opportunity to earn interest on their cryptocurrency investments. Interest rates range from 1% to 8.5% APR.
Regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, Gemini (opens in new tab) is a cryptocurrency exchange with a smooth-sailing UI that will attract beginners, but also offers trading tools that will seduce skilled investors. Gemini doesn't have Voyager's 55+ suite of coins, but it has a solid number of digital assets (about 26), including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Users will also appreciate Gemini's price alert option, which sends push notifications when a digital asset hits your price target. On top of that, users can earn up to 7.4% in interest on their cryptocurrencies. Gemini's fees (opens in new tab) are dependent on your transaction type; they can be as high as $2.99. On the plus side, signing up and funding your Gemini account is quick and painless.
The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.